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Casey Christofaris

Owner, CS3 Inc

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Is evolution/religion/everything a self fulfilling prophecy?

What separates us from the rest of species? Recognition of self right? Some will want to argue that there are other species that can recognize self. But then you need to ask well do they recognize self do to our experiments and what we have defined as self recognition or is it innately in them? So is it that we recognize self because of them through evolution or do they recognize self do to us? A bird called the magpie is self aware using the mirror test. It’s easy now to look in a mirror and say yep that’s me, but it’s a million times harder to say that this is just a visual representation of trillions of moving, living, self-replicating entities.

This is the principles that I would like to use in defining self fulfilling prophecy:
Robert Merton's concept of the self-fulfilling prophecy stems from the Thomas theorem, which states that "If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences."[2] According to Thomas, people react not only to the situations they are in, but also, and often primarily, to the way they perceive the situations and to the meaning they assign to these perceptions. This causes people to have negative viewpoints. Therefore, their behavior is determined in part by their perception and the meaning they ascribe to the situations they are in, rather than by the situations themselves. Once people convince themselves that a situation really has a certain meaning, regardless of whether it actually does, they will take very real actions in consequence.

So we are just a bunch of self replicating entities that have evolved in to a self recognizing being. Will history keep repeating its "self"?

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    Nov 7 2012: Casey,
    I would argue your opening statement; recognition of self is not what separates us from other species. Recognition of mortality, and our ability to think on much higher levels makes us different.

    According to your argument, my life is an anomaly. I have made many choices in life, but they didn't lead to what I had expected. My ambition was to become an architect because my father was a master carpenter. I ended up as the control room supervisor of a city owned utility managing the operations of the electrical distribution system. When I left home, electricity was the last thing on my mind.

    I became a lighting designer for local community theater, not because I had any interest in theater, but because a friend of mine was into theater and I was just looking for something to do. I was encouraged to become a lighting designer by those who saw what potential I had.

    I became a licensed pilot, not because I had any interest in learning to fly, but because a coworker was looking for someone to study with and chose me because I had some insurance money after my first wife's death. We both went out looking for a flight school and I booked an introductory flight lesson. I got hooked. The coworker changed his mind and never fulfilled his desire.

    I became the aerospace education officer for Civil Air Patrol cadets, not because I had any interest in it, but because I was looking for a flying club and Civil Air Patrol was the only local event that resembled a club that flies. I went with no intention to return because I didn't like the military lifestyle, but I was impressed with the people who ran the program and stayed to see what might become of it. The cadet leader was in the Navy and was being transfered. I was asked if I would oversee the cadet program since I had a lot of patience with kids. I found their aerospace manuals easy to follow and informative so I gave it a try. In time it grew on me.
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      Nov 8 2012: Sounds like a Forrest Gump story :-). Sounds like my life too - not in details, but in the way we made our decisions. I think, that's how most of us live our lives. We encounter what seems like "random" events, "random" circumstances, "random" people. They catch onto some driving force within us, our past "random" experiences, our passion. And the passion grows and keeps feeding on itself, adding new experiences of the same kind to our life. I think, this is how hurricanes form, how manias and addictions develop. I also think, the same process is at the core of stock market, business, and economy in general. I also believe that the very same process was responsible for creation of the universe and life.
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        Nov 8 2012: Good Day Arkady,

        Its living in the moment, instead of behind a wall of protection that many people have built up in front of them. Which is not wrong but its not healthy either.
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          Nov 8 2012: "All we know is just another brick in the wall." -- Pink Floyd

          All past experiences and education create prejudice that stand in the way of perceiving things as they are or "live in the moment" as you put it.

          "You must unlearn what you have learned." -- Yoda.
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          Nov 11 2012: Casey sorry for coming up here to respond to your post way below, but as you know there is no reply button.
          You are absolutely right about TIME. God is inside time and space but is not part of it, or limited by it. Time and space are limits of the material world.

          --" “God was the Soul, Jesus was the body, making them One.”
          If this statement is true and we are also sons and daughters of god as was Jesus. Then this statement would also have to be true, “god is the soul, we are the body(physical reality), making god and us one” "--
          Not quite. We are not literally sons and daughters of God, but Jesus was. Mary was 'overshadowed' by the Holy Spirit. God caused her conception and birth, not Joseph. And, yes, God could be seen as the Soul of this physical universe (and heaven the spirit).
          Jesus' birth was prophesied from the beginning in Genesis. If enough of those are read, we should realize that Jesus is God on earth. Because Christians believe in three Gods, that does not really make Jesus Divine, which He (His Soul) was from His birth.
          If we separate God and Jesus we can come to the wrong conclusion that Jesus was here to make His angry Father happy. That is totally wrong.
          His Soul could make Him Divine through a long process of fighting evil throughout His whole life.
          The best we can do is become a celestial angel through a similar process (on our finite human level) throughout our life in this same world, again, by fighting evil and then doing good.

          At the end of your comment we seem to be saying the same thing. Following God in freedom (by using our free will) should be seen as total freedom. Those that like evil will say that God is trying to force us.. and take our freedom away (to do evil). That is a wrong impression. No one is forced to rob a bank or hate someone. It is always our choice.
          But doing good, for the right reason, is total freedom.

          The Swedenborgian approach to God and Jesus may help
          http://webhome.idirect.com/~abraam/studies/Who_is_Jesus.pdf
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        Nov 8 2012: Arkady,
        I was trained in nuclear physics. When you break everything down to its lowest form, it all becomes the same. How it evolves is similar to what you describe. Quantum fields become subatomic particles, which become atomic elements, which become molecular compounds, which become...

        They are all various levels all built on top of each other. They set the wheels of creativity in motion. They seem chaotic, and yet there is an order to them. We see the events as random, yet that is because we see only a small piece of a greater picture. It's like weather patterns. The more you understand the inputs, the more you can predict the result. Our lives are like trying to see a hurricane from the perspective of a single raindrop. We know where we've been, but we don't know all the factors that created the journey. We say it is by our own choice, but we only play the cards we are dealt. We seldom understand that we are not the dealer. The trick is to play the cards in a manner that will lead to the greatest good.
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          Nov 8 2012: Re: "They seem chaotic, and yet there is an order to them."

          CHAOS - "Complete disorder and confusion."
          It's interesting that there is a "chaos theory" which studies patterns and regularity arising from chaos. It's also interesting that this theory is applicable to nearly every field of knowledge - meteorology, economy, physics, astronomy, psychology, psychiatry, biology, aerodynamics, etc. It's interesting how completely random initial conditions develop in a very predictable and structured way.

          Humans like to find causes for everything. But when we get to the bottom of things, we find circularity: "If God created the universe, then who created God?" It's a silly argument that goes nowhere. Existence seems to cause itself. Time and space loose meaning without matter. So, the question, what existed "before" the universe appeared is meaningless. Time, space, and matter must have appeared simultaneously. What about God? I think, God IS existence itself. God can be metaphorically viewed as the force that creates order out of chaos.

          Determinism and free will, omniscience and omnipotence, chaos and order seem to be opposites, but they appear to be two sides of the same coin. When everything goes according to God's will, and God knows it, why would he want to change anything? God's "free will" seems to be predetermined by himself.
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        Nov 8 2012: Arkady,
        I believe that learning to control ourselves is the key to understanding religion. This is the spiritual path of Eastern philosophy, which would lead from the lower subconscious (the animal passions from which we evolved) to the upper subconscious or Christ (communion with the power through which the universe became manifest). It is this communion that allows us to understand where the flow goes, as you say.
        I have found the teachings of Eastern philosophy throughout the Judeo-Christian tradition, but nowhere in the Christian bible is it explained. A few examples;

        The Catholic Church talks of communion, but it doesn't differentiate between Jesus the man, and "the Christ" to which Jesus alluded to. Jesus call us to understand. It wasn't himself that he wanted us to believe in, it was in what he represented.

        The book of Exodus explains the arrangement of the tabernacle which contained the Holy of Holies. Only the arrangement is given, but no explanation as to why such an arrangement. Eastern philosophy explains the arrangement and what it means. The Holy of Holies is spiritual understanding (or the Christ), the veil in front of it being that which separates us from being able to understand. Only through meditation and prayer (or contemplation) could we find the path that leads beyond the veil.

        Some myths speak on similar lines. In these myths, it would require the slaying of the dragon to reach the treasure sought after (often synonymous with the Holy Grail). The dragon is the beast within (the animal which is still part of our psychological makeup) that must be overcome to see what lies beyond. Learning to control self was the first step of the spiritual journey. It all means the same thing but in different terms. In the gospels, it was Satan that Jesus had to overcome before he could begin his ministry. Revelation speaks of Satan as the dragon, the serpent, and the devil. They are all one and the same.
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          Nov 9 2012: Hello Roy,
          Just some points about the Tabernacle. It is now revealed in Jesus' Second Coming that this construct is a picture of our human, spiritual environment as it works, or can work.
          There are those that don't even go in and so stay natural. When we do enter we have two sections we can proceed into, the spiritual and the celestial. Each entrance is based on a decision we make in freedom and with rationality.

          In this book about the Tabernacle are countless references to Genesis and other places which are used to explain the human condition of free will and the reason for having that.

          http://sites.google.com/site/liveitupspiritually/home/source/The%20Tabernacle%20of%20Israel.pdf?attredirects=0

          Chapter 17 is all about the veils. When the Lord talks about knocking on our door, this is the partition He is talking about for us to open to go to the next stage.
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          Nov 9 2012: Roy, I find holy texts fascinating. I also think that religion is about controlling self and finding evil within ourselves. Unfortunately, it is often used to control others and finding evil within others. This is like weeding the gardens of your neighbors without asking them. When we do that, we neglect our own garden.

          Of course, when Genesis is taken as a story of literal creation of the universe, it fails basic reality checks. However, if taken as metaphoric description of our spiritual selves, it makes a lot of sense. I would say, "literalism" is a figure of speech. Our language is symbolic by nature.

          I also find the name of the Lord "YHWH", "I AM" or "I WILL BE" very symbolic. It is a reference to our self. Some people even find that the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) spelled vertically with Hebrew letters is a pictogram of a human being.
          http://www.yhwh.com/asimple.htm
          Whereas, the Jesus (Yahshua) spelled vertically with Hebrew letters YHSWH is a pictogram of a human being with a heart.

          I'm not sure if this symbolism was meant to be there or if this is someone trying to find more meaning than there is.
        • Nov 9 2012: Roy, I do believe that self-control is a part religion, but the core to eastern spirituality, involves achieving moksha (Hinduism) or nirvana (Buddism) for the majority of eastern religions - This is an attempt to be like God (or achieve His state) through prayer, meditation, physical self-control, etc.

          This is completely opposite to a Judeo-Christian worldview. In both Judaism and Christianity, the goal isn't about becoming like God (which is a tenant of a New Age philosophy), it's about having a relationship with God.

          For Judaism this relationship was governed (and still is today) through the Law, the Tabernacle (where God's presence resided) and blood sacrifice for the atonement for sin. For Christianity, the aforementioned conditions was dealt with through God coming to earth in the form of Jesus Christ as 100% God and 100% man to deal with the repercussion of sin, which is death, the subsequent Law and required atonement.

          When Jesus lived a sinless life and was put to death, the devil had no legal right to Him, so he took His life back at the resurrection and is alive eternally. Now all those (Jew and non-Jew) who believe in Jesus now have covenant relationship with God through Him, and with that comes purpose and blessing to a broken world.

          Answering Arkady's point on a literal Genesis - if Genesis isn't a literal creation, then the actual fall of man and separation from God due to our sinful nature, which took place in the garden of Eden, didn't happen, and if that didn't happen then the need for Jesus bridging the gap between mankind and God wouldn't be needed, which unhinges the whole of Christianity.

          The testament to Jesus' power through faith in Him makes Him very real, therefore making Genesis very literal. What I can say is that facts of this world can't speak for themselves, but the scientific framework and presuppositions it stands on, interprets the facts. I challenge you to look at www.answersingenesis.com for a biblical worldview.
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          Nov 10 2012: @Marvin
          I'm not sure what is meant by "very real" or "very literal"... I have problem with terms like "true believer" or "true atheist", "literal interpretation", or "natural". There is no meaning in these words.

          As I said, "literal interpretation" is a figure of speech. If we want to follow NT to the letter, we need to cut off our hands, pluck our eyes, and make ourselves eunuchs for the sake of kingdom of God :-).
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          Nov 10 2012: Hi Marvin, in my view, Christianity is lost because of taking Genesis, etc. literally. Text taken literally has no other level of meaning, and it is that other/higher meaning which makes it the Word of God.

          --"if Genesis isn't a literal creation, then the actual fall of man and separation from God due to our sinful nature, which took place in the garden of Eden, didn't happen, and if that didn't happen then the need for Jesus bridging the gap between mankind and God wouldn't be needed, which unhinges the whole of Christianity."--
          The first 10.5 chapters of Genesis were copied by Mozes from earlier Revelations and sacred text. These were written by people that knew spiritual reality and expressed them through earthly stories.
          Just because it did not happen in 7 days, does not mean God did not create the universe. The Creation Story has nothing to do with THAT creation. Who cares when or how long the creation of this universe took?? Have you ever applied that 7-day story into your life, as to how to live, what to do etc.?? Except maybe get involved in an argument about the existence of God?
          As is now explained in the Second Coming (hold on, don't fall off your chair :) that story is the creation of a spiritual person, from a natural (spiritually void) person. Each day is a stage which could take many years. But finally God can take a 'day' off because the person no longer has to be protected and guided away from evil.

          The first chapter of Genesis is, word for word, explained (spiritually) in this first volume. As Philip said to his brother Nathanael "Come and see"
          http://sites.google.com/site/liveitupspiritually/home/writings/Arcana%20Coelestia%2001.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1
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          Nov 13 2012: Hello Marvin,

          "The testament to Jesus' power through faith in Him makes Him very real, therefore making Genesis very literal."

          If this is true which I believe it to be true, then also this statement must be true. Anything that man has had faith in or belief of being real must also make said thing real. I will explain further and I hope it makes sense. So if everything is of the mind and man creates his reality, if at anytime enough (see 100 monkey theory) man worshiped or believed something to existed, from fiction to, mythology, to any form of religion then that thing is also true and also existed. Because of mans faith in said thing
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        Nov 8 2012: Ardady,
        I believe that God is the chaos of the primordial soup of quantum physics that is destined to become ordered. It fills the universe. It is everywhere and invisible. When we learn to understand it and follow its rules, then we see progress. When we determine to defy its principles, it leads to consequences. That is what is meant to follow God or not. The laws of nature can't be broken. But they can be utilized in ways that lead to greater things.
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        Nov 9 2012: Arkady thanks so much for this insight of the name YHWH etc. What you said seems to fit perfectly with how we see God and Jesus.
        God is the only and perfect Human. We are just images and likenesses, depending on how 'human' we make ourselves.

        Jesus was God's love 'embodied' on this planet. The only way God could control and change the power of evil in this world (and not hurt anyone except Himself) was by coming down to the level of evil. God was the Soul, Jesus was the body, making them One.

        It is obvious, when we look around us, that Jesus did not take our evil away. He levelled the 'playing field.' IOW restored our free will.

        --"I'm not sure if this symbolism was meant to be there or if this is someone trying to find more meaning than there is"--
        As finite beings we will never find or discover the total meaning of Revelation. There is so much 'room' between our truth and Divine Truth that we'll never go the distance :) We can only go by our interpretation and hope for the best. I think what we have through Swedenborg is only the tip of the tip of . . . of the iceberg.
        One image of infinity could be the amount of grains of sand that are not the same.
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          Nov 10 2012: Good day Adriaan,

          “Just because it did not happen in 7 days, does not mean God did not create the universe”
          What if I can explain in simple terms, but not simply since I have a hard time with my written word, on how god could create the observable universe as well as explain how it was also created by science using fractal coding, quantum physics, and “time” vs “gods time”. For god time did not and does not exist. Time is a manmade concept based on false assumptions and arbitrary units of measurements. Man created time by its rotation around the sun. We then broke it down even more by asserting that we rotate around the sun in a circle instead of an ellipse. Which is how all celestial object rotate around there sun. We can thank Kepler for this. Our existence can not and would not work without both science and religion. Also When god was creating the universe remember we still thought for a very long time afterwards that it was the sun that rotated around the earth.

          “God was the Soul, Jesus was the body, making them One.”
          If this statement is true and we are also sons and daughters of god as was Jesus. Then this statement would also have to be true, “god is the soul, we are the body(physical reality), making god and us one”
          “we are all predestined for heaven, if it were up to God. But it is not, it is up to us, determined by, again, what we choose to love in freedom.”
          I am sorry this is simply not true completely; we create our concepts of heaven and hell here on earth. One could not understand the concept of either heaven or hell without understanding the concept of the other. And in that way one could choose to live in heaven and one could choose (use loosely here) their own personal hell lived out here on earth. If god did not give us free will of choice we would reject god simply because no free being wants to be enslaved. And we would be enslaved to gods will. The best part is that that god does not want to be our author; he wants us to live our lives.
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          Nov 10 2012: “No one is, or ever has been born to go to hell.”
          Now this I agree with absolutely however it is still personal choice. This is also way Jesus can down as the sacrificial lamb. Jesus came to stop men from worshiping god by sacrificing animals and man/women in god’s name. This did not show god’s grace this should man’s arrogates.
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        Nov 9 2012: Arkady,
        I believe that each soul was to derive meaning from religion according to their own walk on the spiritual path. I don't believe that there is only one meaning or that people find meaning that was not intended to be there. What one finds may not be intended for anyone else, but may be intended for the one finding it.

        As you have said, people use religion to control others and to find evil within others. Jesus spoke directly against this when he warned the people not to look for the mote in your neighbor's eye when you have a beam in your own. It is one of the great failures of religion.
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      Nov 8 2012: Good day Roy,

      It doesn't sound like your life is anomaly, it sounds like you live in the moment and let life direct your decisions instead of having blinders on to the world that is around you. Going with the flow is always better then trying to fit in a box.
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        Nov 8 2012: Casey,
        I do see myself as living in the moment. I choose to be a participant and not a spectator. Often I need a starting point and then I go with the flow.

        I see some people walking around like stray dogs. I often wonder whether they are capable of bettering their lives, or if they are simply less evolved in mind and spirit? Are we who we are because we were destined to be, or is it by choice? I think it's a little of both.
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          Nov 8 2012: Good day Roy,

          Yeah I agree, It is a little of both. I would suggest that the path that gets us to the lessons we need to learn are "predetermined" (use loosely). This can be seen as chaos theory, or cause and effect. However once we get to that lesson, then personal choice steps. Which can be seen as free will. Each individuals personal choice can lead to positive reactions or negative reactions. Its then our choice to learn from that lesson and what we choose to learn is what helps us get to the next lesson and then to our next personal choice.
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          Nov 8 2012: Controlling our internal reactions to external events and perception of external things, and also our internal desires is the key to controlling the world outside ourselves. Will power is, mostly, about controlling ourselves. I'm terrible at that.

          Understanding where the flow goes is necessary to "go with the flow". Otherwise, we may unknowingly go against the flow or "kick against the pricks", as the Bible puts it, only hurting ourselves. Or we may be carried somewhere we don't want to be.
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          Nov 9 2012: In our church we reject any notion of us being predestined to anything. Creation is for the reason to create a heaven from the human race and 'anywhere' we go depends on what we have decided to make our ruling love.

          We could say, however, that we are all predestined for heaven, if it were up to God. But it is not, it is up to us, determined by, again, what we choose to love in freedom.
          No one is, or ever has been born to go to hell.

          This article is all about what would happen if we had no free will.
          http://webhome.idirect.com/~abraam/studies/Freedom_No.pdf

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